Investing Responsibly in Agricultural Land: Lessons from responsible land investment pilots in sub-Saharan Africa

December 2019
LEGEND (Julian Quan and Amaelle Seigneret)

Land investments involve the acquisition of land and natural resources, usually by companies, for business ventures, agriculture and other purposes.  This paper presents eight practical lessons on cross-cutting issues in land investment derived from pilot projects that took place from 2016–19 in Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. The pilots, supported by DFID and USAID, sought to (i) test how private companies and civil society organisations could collaborate in the implementation of agribusiness investments and (ii) develop innovative tools and approaches that could be adopted and implemented at greater scale. The pilots reviewed have had numerous positive outcomes, including significant increases in tenure security for community members, reduction of land-related conflicts, improved relations between project-affected people and companies, and in various cases rapid creation of new economic opportunities and community organisational capacity and significant benefits for women. The paper makes suggestions for how these benefits might be realised at greater scale, without reliance on providing recurrent donor funding for specific company and civil society partnerships